Saskatchewan man calls International Space Station
Published Sunday, October 26, 2008 5:52PM EDT
You may have texted relatives on the other side of the planet, made a long distance call from a jetliner or used your cellphone to read emails.
But have you ever contacted someone aboard the International Space Station?
Well, that's what Murray Crandon did recently, and he did it with an old-fashioned ham radio.
Crandon managed to contact wealthy American space tourist Richard Garriott, who responded to ham radio calls while orbiting in the international space station last Monday.
In a phone interview with CTV Newsnet on Saturday, Crandon said he knew from a tracking program on his computer that he had an 11 minute window to chat with Garriott as he heard the tourist call out 'CQ,' meaning that he was seeking contact.
"He just called, 'CQ, this is Richard Garriott, NA1SS aboard the International Space Station,' and then I just answered him with my own call sign," Crandon said.
"We didn't have a lot of time and I wanted to respect everybody else's opportunity to make a contact as well so we just exchanged our call signs ... and we just moved on from there."
Garriott, travelling in a Soyuz capsule, landed Friday morning in north-central Kazakhstan. The computer game designer paid 30 million dollars for a 10-day stay on the space station.
The conversation may have been out of this world but it was by no means something new for Crandon. The 18-year radio veteran made contact with another space tourist in April of 2007.
Also in March of 2003, he contacted South Korea's Antarctic base in the South Shetland Islands.
As for whom he'll try to contact next, Crandon is still looking towards the stars.
"I suppose if they ever put a human on Mars, I'll be listening," he said.
With files from The Canadian Press